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Faculty Focus: Vantage One Instructors Awarded 2020/2021 Killam Teaching Prize

Congratulations to Vantage One program Instructors Jennifer Gagnon, Katherine Lyon, and Gabriel Potvin on each being awarded the Killam Teaching Prize!

The highest honour UBC can confer on a faculty member, a University Killam Professorship recognizes exceptional teachers and researchers who are leaders in their fields, and who have received international recognition for their talents. The Killam Teaching Prize is awarded annually to faculty nominated by students, colleagues and alumni in recognition of excellence in teaching. Recipients are recognized at the graduation ceremonies.

The Killam Teaching Prize is adjudicated within each Faculty, and at the Okanagan campus, within the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic. Contact the UBC Vancouver Deans' Offices or the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, UBC Okanagan for nomination procedures and internal deadlines.

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About the winners:


Jennifer Gagnon, Political Science, Faculty of Arts

Dr. Jennifer M. Gagnon (she/her/hers) (PhD, Political Science, University of Minnesota, BA, University of British Columbia) is a continuing sessional lecturer in the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media, Department of Political Science, and Vantage College at UBC. Her research is interdisciplinary and embraces a broad range of topics in political theory, classics, disability studies, international relations theory, qualitative methods, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), feminism, and gender. Her main area of research is in the intersections between ancient political thought and disability studies, especially as concerns gender, inclusion and exclusion, violence, and visible and invisible disabilities. As an activist, she is involved in efforts to promote a culture of consent, LGBTQ2SIA+ inclusion, and accessibility both on and off-campus. In partnership with the Equity and Inclusion Office, she is the creator and facilitator of UBC’s Disability Affinity Group for disabled faculty and staff. She is a recipient of the 2021 Killam Teaching Prize at UBC. Dr. Gagnon identifies as a bisexual and disabled woman and strives to bring her whole self to both her teaching and research. Her hope is that this award brings more visibility to the remarkable and innovative teaching that both disabled folks and contract faculty are doing at UBC.


Katherine Lyon, Sociology, Faculty of Arts

Dr. Katherine Lyon is Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Sociology and Vantage One Arts. Her teaching practice draws from and builds on research within the fields of sociology of education and scholarship of teaching and learning, focusing on experiential pedagogies and inclusive assessment. Katherine’s recent work is published in journals such as Teaching Sociology and Journal of English for Academic Purposes. She holds a Certificate on Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education from the International Program for the Scholarship of Educational Leadership and is a recipient of the SAGE Teaching Innovations and Professional Development Award and the Vantage Educational Innovation and Teaching Awards


Gabriel Potvin, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science

Dr. Gabriel Potvin is an Associate Professor of Teaching in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and an instructor in the Engineering stream of Vantage College. Although his technical background is in bioprocess engineering and industrial microbiology, his current scholarly work focuses on interdisciplinary education, problem-based learning, laboratory-based pedagogy, and student-centric curriculum development. He is also a steadfast advocate of science and engineering outreach and a strong proponent of scientists and engineers getting more involved with the general public to serve as ambassadors to their fields.

In addition to being recognized as an engaging, passionate and dedicated instructor by his students (his nomination for this award was supported by statements from over 130 students, both undergraduate and graduate, from multiple departments), Gabriel has held educational leadership roles in several programs at UBC, including Academic Essentials, Jump Start, Vancouver Summer Programs (in chemical engineering) and Vantage College. He has been recognized with multiple awards, from the local to the national level, for his teaching excellence, pedagogical innovations, scholarly contributions, and outreach work.